Biography of Actor Clark Gable Part 2

About the famous actor Clark Gable, history and biography of the Hollywood star and legend.


CLARK GABLE (1901-1960)

Gable won an Academy Award for It Happened One Night, directed by Frank Capra, a film he originally rejected. He was also reluctant to tackle Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), Gone with the Wind (1939), and The Misfits (1960). GWTW, in particular, terrified Gable, and he was partly responsible when David Selznick fired director George Cukor and replaced him with Gable's fellow outdoorsman Victor Fleming. Although three directors toiled on Gone with the Wind, all Gable's scenes, save one, were directed by Fleming. In this film, he wept on screen for the first time, a professional and personal breakthrough, and when he uttered Rhett Butler's scandalous farewell, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," he walked into movie legend.

Clark Gable married Carole Lombard in 1939, after buying a divorce from Ria Langham for $265,000, a sum which mightily pained the frugal star. Gable and Lombard had already costarred in No Man of Her Own (1932). During the filming, she had presented him with a gift: a big ham with Gable's picture pasted on it. He, in turn, gave her a pair of floppy "prima donna" ballet slippers several sizes too large for her. It took four years for them to become lovers, whereupon Gable immediately became the butt of her humor. "I love Pappy," she once said, "even though he's not the greatest lay." Smart, sassy, foulmouthed, irreverent, vulnerable, and generous, Lombard gave Gable years which were among the happiest of his life.

Throughout their three-year affair and subsequent marriage, they delighted in playing jokes on each other. On their "working ranch" in Encino, Gable opened the barn one morning to find an enraged cow. When he attempted to bulldog the animal, it knocked him halfway across the yard. At dinner that evening, with all due formality, Lombard presented Gable with a red toreador outfit. The next morning, when Lombard excitedly ran outside to see a new thoroughbred Gable had promised her, she found a swaybacked old horse on its last legs.

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